What's Best for you and your family?


Switch to the Building Trades and you’re on your way to a better deal, a better future and a better life.

10 Things worth thinking about


Every once in a while, you get a chance to make a better life.

As a JMR employee, you may be okay right now, but your future is uncertain. How long can you depend on a single employer who’s facing increased competition?

You need to make sure you’re getting what you deserve, so you can have the future you want.

It’s not just about money, even though that’s a good reason to join the Building Trades. It’s also about benefits you can count on and the chance to upgrade your skills and increase your job opportunities.

Joining the Building Trades gives you a better deal, a better future, and a better life for you and your family.

Keep reading and you’ll see 10 good reasons why you should leave CLAC and join the Building Trades – 10 reasons why you can do better.

Reason 1

You’ll Get Better Wages

When you join the Building Trades, contractors will pay you 10% to 30% more per hour than with CLAC.

You can see it at jobs like the ones on the Western Campus where some of you work under the CLAC Agreement.

In London, Sheet Metal Workers are earning $5.29 more per hour than you do under the CLAC Agreement. Electricians are getting $8.75 per hour more and Plumbers are getting $5.76 per hour more.

On job after job, trades with the same skill levels, working side by side with you on the same site for the same general contractor, get higher rates of pay. How fair is that?

With the Building Trades, you will earn more. It could mean an extra $10,000 to $20,000 a year for you and your family.

Hourly Wages

CLAC/JMR Building Trades
London Sarnia Windsor
Electrician $32.40 $41.15 $43.69 $36.40
Plumber / Steamfitter/Welder $32.40 $38.16 $40.30 $37.63
Sheet Metal Worker $32.40 $37.69 $38.60 $35.86

Reason 2

You’ll Get Better Benefits

When you join the Building Trades, your benefits are 100% secure and portable.

If you refuse to travel with JMR, you get laid off and lose your benefits.

That doesn’t happen with the Building Trades. With the Building Trades, you take your benefits with you when you change employers. If you’re between jobs, your benefits continue as long as you have credits. After that, you can continue coverage by paying direct.


Reason 3

You’ll Get A Better Pension

You need a solid foundation for your future retirement. JMR only puts between 4% and 6.5% aside for your pension.

With the Building Trades, your employers will contribute between 11% and 18%, in addition to your regular pay.


Employer’s Hourly Contribution to Pension

CLAC/JMR – up to 2013 Building Trades 2013 – 2014
Electricians Plumbers / Steamfitters / Welders Sheet Metal Workers
<5 Yrs: 4.0% = $1.30
5 to 9.9 yrs: 5.0% = $1.62
10 to 19.9 yrs: 6.0% = $1.94
20 yrs and over: 6.5% = $2.11
London $6.54 $6.51 $4.27
Sarnia $6.55 $7.50 $6.18
Windsor $6.88 $6.66 $7.00

Reason 4

You’ll Get Real Support as an Apprentice

In the Building Trades, we help each other to succeed. With CLAC, those are just empty words.

  • We have support programs so you will succeed in  trade school.
  • We provide refresher courses before you take  your C. of Q. exam
  • We have career counselors who make sure you’re  getting the training you need.

Building Trades apprentices have higher success rates in completing their apprenticeship.

We also get you the wage increases you’re automatically entitled to with each year of training. You don’t have to ask for them.

Reason 5

Building Trades Contractors are winning work and paying higher wages than JMR

Here are some examples of jobs that were won by Building Trades Contractors where JMR was also a bidder.


Reason 6

You Can Get the Best Training

We know how much you care about your skills. And we know the importance of training.

The Building Trades offer far more training opportunities than CLAC. In fact, most of CLAC’s training is just safety training.

With the Building Trades, in addition to safety training, you get training that increases your opportunities for well-paid work: instruction in communications wiring, welding, CAD, G3 gas fitting, building code updates, blueprint reading and much more. These government-approved courses will help you get your TSSA and CWB tickets and other licensed accreditation.

In the Building Trades, we invest in ourselves because it’s key to higher wages and greater job opportunities. We can get the training you want, at no cost. We help you move forward. And no one holds you back.

Electricians Plumbers / Steamfitters / Sheet Metal Workers
  • Solar power wiring
  • Communications wiring
  • Network Cabling
  • Traffic Signalling Cabling
  • Welding – CWB certification
  • Instrumentation
  • Motor controls
  • Foreman Training
  • Blueprint Reading
  •  tube bending,
  • DZ license,
  • RBD Truck,
  • Mobile crane
  • high voltage cable splicing,
  • Master Electrician course,
  • Fire Alarm certification
  • Code update course
  • Hoisting & Rigging course,
  • All terrain fork Lift course,
  • Safety Training
    • WHMIS,
    • Fall arrest,
    • Working at Heights
    • Lockout & tagout procedures,
    • Arc flash training
    • First Aid / CPR
  • Foreman Training
  • Back-flow Prevention
  • TSSA Silver solder Ticket
  • Code Updates
  • Medical Gas License
  • Hoisting and Rigging
  • TSSA Gas Pipefitter
  • TSSA Oil Pipefitter.)
  • TSSA Petroleum Equipment Mechanic
  • TSSA Gas Technician 2 ( G 2 )
  • TSSA Carbon Steel Pressure Pipe Welding Ticket
  • TSSA Stainless Steel Pressure Pipe Welding Ticket
  • Blue Print Reading
  • Auto CAD
  • C.W.B. Welding Tickets
  • Safety Training
    • WHMIS
    • Fall Arrest
    • Working at Heights
    • First Aid/CPR
    • Forklift
    • Elevated Platforms
    • Arc Flash Training
    • Asbestos Awareness
  • Welding to CWB standard
  • Rigging
  • Forklift
  • G3 Gas Fitting
  • Testing and Air Balancing
  • Blueprint / CAD
  • Safety Training
  • Fall Arrest
  • Working at Heights
  • First Aid/CPR
  • Forklift
  • Elevated Platforms
  • Arc Flash Training
  • Asbestos Awareness

All of this training is free.
All of this training is voluntary.

Reason 7

You’ll Be Treated Fairly

CLAC and JMR are giving you a lousy choice: Either you take the work that JMR offers in Thunder Bay, or it’s voluntary layoff and the loss of all your benefits.

In the Building Trades, you keep your benefits when you change employers. No one can cancel them. This can be important if you or someone in your family depends on your benefits. You never know when you or your family will need them.

Overtime is truly voluntary under a Building Trades contract, and always starts when you’ve finished your scheduled shift. Under CLAC, it kicks in only after you’ve worked 44 hours in a week.


The CLAC/JMR agreement provides very poor overtime benefits.

In the first place, overtime in the CLAC/JMR agreement starts after you have clocked 44 hours in a week.  In the Building Trades, overtime starts as soon as your regular daily shift is over.  So in the CLAC/JMR agreement you could work for 10 hours from Monday to Thursday and then 4 hours on Friday without getting any over time.  In the Building Trades your overtime is calculated on a daily basis, not a weekly basis.

The CLAC/JMR agreement even further weakens your overtime rights by allowing JMR to average your hours over a month.  For example, on the Thunder Bay job, JMR has structured the shifts so as to avoid paying overtime by averaging the hours over a month:

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Total
Week 1 0 11 11 11 11 10 9 63
Week 2 0 11 11 11 11 10 9 63
Week 3 0 11 11 11 11 6 0 50
Week 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 176
              Average 44
              No overtime because of averaging

Reason 8

You’ll Get Access to More and Better Jobs

More than 2,000 contractors have signed with the IBEW, the UA has signed with over 2,000 contractors, and more than 800 employers have signed with the Sheet Metal Workers. In addition to these contractors, the Building Trades also work directly for Ontario Power Generation and Hydro One, as well as for their contractors. Our contractors get most of the work in the industrial sector. And most of the work in the power sector as well.

Join the Building Trades and you can choose to work for any of these contractors in the industrial, commercial, residential, institutional and power sectors. And if you’re not working, you’re automatically part of a pool of available workers hired by all these unionized contractors. So, in addition to the jobs you’re doing now, you’ll get to work on everything from industrial construction to power projects and high-rise condos. The Building Trades also have separate agreements for doing major maintenance work in industrial plants.

IBEW: Electricians more than 2,000 contractors
UA: Pipe Trades more than 2,000 contractors
SMWIA: Sheet Metal Workers more than 800 contractors


Reason 9

You’ll get more opportunity

The hours worked by Building Trades members in Ontario are growing all the time. There’s a big demand for people like you. Join us and you’ll have more options for where and when you work.

And it’s important to remember that a strike in the Building Trades is extremely rare. There hasn’t been a strike or lock-out by electricians, pipe trades or sheet metal workers in the Building Trades in Ontario in 20 years.


Reason 10

You’ll Get the Vacations You Want

You’ve worked hard for your vacations. You should be able to use them when you need them.

With the Building Trades, you don’t have to take your vacation when the company tells you. You take your time off when it’s best for you and your family.


What They Said

Gary Creek

IBEW Journeyperson
Ex JMR employee

I am a certified Electrician. Until June of this year, I was working at JMR. Now I’m with the Building Trades. Joining the Building Trades was one of the best decisions I’ve made. When CLAC was my union, I felt like I was paying union dues, but getting nothing for it. And I mean nothing.

The Thunder Bay deal really made me angry with CLAC. They were supposed to represent us. That’s what our union dues were for. But they really sold us out. Basically we were told that if we did not take the deal that CLAC negotiated, we would be treated as taking a voluntary lay off. As a result, our benefits would be cut off. We might or might not be called back to work. CLAC basically just washed its hands of us. For Thunder Bay, CLAC even gave JMR an averaging agreement that eliminates our right to overtime after 44 hours in a week. Under the schedule CLAC negotiated, some weeks consist of 63 hours, but there’s no overtime. In the Building Trades, overtime is paid on a daily basis after the regular shift. And overtime is always voluntary.

More important – in the Building Trades, we keep our benefits. CLAC can never take them away, just because we refuse to take a long-distance job assignment.

In the Building Trades, I have real security. I’m not tied to one employer. I don’t have to choose between taking a long-distance assignment or being laid off and losing my benefits with no assurance of being recalled.

With the Building Trades I have the opportunity to work on well paid jobs. Opportunities that I never had before. I don’t depend for my security on the success or the whims of one employer. With the Building Trades, I can work for a large number of employers. And my wages and benefits are the same.

Joining the Building Trades really worked for me. It will work for you as well.

← Click anywhere to go back

Darryl Candy

UA Foreman
Ex JMR employee

I spent 6 1/2 years at JMR, 4 of them being an apprentice, the other 2 1/2 as a journeyman plumber. My time at JMR was alright but I have now been in the union for roughly 6 years and could not be happier.

One of the biggest pros of being in the union is being able to retire at a good age, with a good pension, which is not the case at JMR. Another pro of being in the union is being able to control whether or not I want to go out of town. I can choose what job I want to take and where that job is. I can't be forced to go out of town and that is very important to someone with a young family.

There are many more pros but the last one I will mention is the training. The union encourages each member to better themselves by taking any of the courses they offer, such as Medical Gases or the Foreman’s course which I just finished taking.

Belonging to a Trade Union gives you more freedom or control over your future and I have thoroughly enjoyed it for the past 6 years.

← Click anywhere to go back

Ben Evans

UA Journeyperson
Ex JMR employee

When people ask me why I’m so proud to be a member of the UA I like to educate them...

When people ask me why I’m so proud to be a member of the UA I like to educate them about what a union is and what it is for.

Being a UA member means that you are a respected and valued tradesman with the freedom to choose where you will work and when you can take time off. You are part of a collective of tradesmen who collectively bargain for the benefit of the membership, not the company owner. You are not bullied by foreman or owners and you are not forced to travel or work ridiculously long hours for regular time. You have a future in the UA and you will be able to look forward to retirement. Overtime is always optional not mandatory and most UA members enjoy steady work contrary to what some union bashers would tell you.

When you pay your union dues you can rest easy knowing that you are getting proper representation, training and an office that is happy to talk to you and advise you of any employment opportunities that might be upcoming with many different companies, not just one. Knowing that everyone is getting paid the same eases a lot of tension that comes when some workers get “special” pay rates. UA members also enjoy great health benefits and a pension plan that is paid for by the employer, not the employees.

What would you say the benefits of a CLAC membership are? Being a UA member means you will be paid properly, treated with respect, make more money and have a better life.

← Click anywhere to go back

George Gallant

Owner and President, Lor-Don Manufacturing Contractors

I personally have been involved in the Union Sheet Metal environment for the last 43 years.

Read the PDF

Rick Donohue

Besterd Mechanical

Besterd Mechanical has been a U.A. affiliated contractor for over 50 years.

Read the PDF

Dylan Lebold

Sheet Metal Foreman
Ex JMR employee

I would be on the road every week with travel paid only one way. I left JMR for a short period of time and when I returned my benefits were withheld an extra three months, for a total of six months. There were times when the other two trades were brought in on a sheet metal job, in order for the job to get completed on time. Trying to book time off was always an issue. I was sick of being pushed around by management to join CLAC.

I had the opportunity to meet Mike Eagleson of SMWIA. We talked and I decided that joining Local 473 was what I wanted for my future. Once I was accepted into the Union I went right to work with no waiting time whatsoever and have been steadily employed ever since. I’m home every night and not missing out on time with my family. The union and company were very supportive throughout the change of life for us all.

Seeing the benefits the union had to offer, my younger brother eventually decided he wanted that for himself. He contacted Mike Eagleson to ask about the union, joined Local 473. He’s just completed his apprenticeship and has a successful career.

I have been employed at Lor-Don Limited for 5 of my 6 1/5 years with the union. I am now a foreman with Lor-Don running jobs at General Dynamics Land Systems. I am proud that my hard work ethic has paid off and has been noticed. Since joining the Union I have made $80,000 -$95,000 annually and $10,000 pension annually.

Go Union and see what the union can do for you!

← Click anywhere to go back

What Next

Your Future is in Your Hands

Here’s what happens next –

  • You and your co-workers at JMR will soon be asked to sign a card stating you want to leave CLAC.
  • You’ll also be asked to sign a card declaring you want to join the Building Trades.

When 40% of the trades at JMR sign the cards, two votes will be held:

  • The first vote will give you the ability to leave CLAC.
  • The second vote will give you the right to join the Building Trades.

If 50%+1 of you vote to change unions, you’ll immediately become members of the Building Trades. And JMR will automatically be covered by one of our contracts.

We’ve given you 10 reasons why we think this is a good idea. Please share them with your co-workers and family.

Contact Us

Call us any time at


If you’d like more information that’s specific to your trade, you’re welcome to call us any time at 1-855-771-1536. You’ll talk to someone who’s worked the same job as you, and we’ll do our best to answer all your questions.

You can also write us at info@abetterdeal.ca or by using the Contact Form below.

Contact Form





January 24, 2014

Letter to JMR Employees,

Congratulations on rejecting CLAC’s employer friendly contract proposal. It was obviously the right decision. After four meetings with at least 211 employees, listening to the same concerns being mentioned again and again, CLAC still can’t figure out why the proposal was rejected! On top of that, CLAC can’t get you retro pay! Retro pay would not be an issue if CLAC had negotiated an acceptable contract before December 31. CLAC was negotiating for three months, with your best interests in mind, and came back with a raise of $2.38 (including pension) over three years – JMR hasn’t had a raise that small since 1999! Why did it take so long to negotiate such a small raise? There is a very good chance that CLAC chose to wait until after December 31 to show you the first contract proposal – just like they did three years ago. By choosing to wait, CLAC “secures” their ability to represent you while eliminating your option of choosing the Building Trades for representation. It seems like CLAC is more concerned about collecting union dues from you than they are about getting you a better deal. Fortunately, you still have the ability to decertify CLAC.

If a conciliation officer has been appointed to help with the negotiations, your open period is closed. If this is the situation, you still have the option of choosing the Building Trades to represent you as well as the option of decertifying CLAC, but only after rejecting CLAC’s employer friendly contract proposals for 12 months after the conciliation officer was appointed. If CLAC or JMR has not requested a conciliation officer to help with negotiations, you are still in your open period. This means you have the option of choosing the Building Trades to represent you at any time as well as the option of decertifying CLAC at any time.

The majority of you have decided that you are not interested in having the Building Trades represent you. We hope you received all the information you needed in order to make an informed decision. We also hope you realize that you don’t have to continue paying CLAC more than $1 000 per year in union dues to “keep us out”. It is your choice who represents you and it is your choice if nobody represents you.

Decertifying CLAC would eliminate the Thunder Bay agreement and prevent similar agreements from being put in place for other jobs like Kingston, Sault Ste. Marie, and Cornwall. This means you would be paid overtime instead of having your hours averaged over a two to four week period. For employees working in Thunder Bay, your yearly income would increase by more than $10,000! Also, by decertifying CLAC you will have the option of choosing the Building Trades to represent you at any time. That option is a much more powerful bargaining tool than anything CLAC has and it will greatly increase your chances of a better wage package.

A good wage package is much more important than retro pay. Keep pushing CLAC to get you a better deal and keep rejecting CLAC’s employer friendly contract proposals. Or, if you would rather pay no union dues, have more bargaining power, and be paid for all the overtime that you work instead of having your hours averaged, decertify CLAC. Find out if a conciliation officer has been appointed and let us know how we can help.

January 21 2014

Here are the tools that Building Trades Members must supply on the job. 

All other tools are supplied by the employer.

IBEW Tool List

1st Term Apprentice

  • pliers – 8” linesmen, sidecutters, channelock
  • pocket knife
  • measuring tape
  • screwdrivers (6) – Robertson and standard types
  • tool box
  • tool pouch for hand tools

2nd Term Apprentice

  • hacksaw frame – adjustable
  • hammer
  • pair of longnose pliers

3rd Term Apprentice

  • medium size level
  • ½” cold chisel

4th Term Apprentice

  • voltage tester
  • combination square or 6” square
  • center punch
  • file – half round

5th Term Apprentice

  • small tap wrench
  • pair of channelock pliers


The contractor shall furnish all other necessary tools or equipment and replace all bits, taps and hacksaw blades broken on the job.


UA Tool List

  • 10’-12’ Tape Measure
  • Channel Lock Pliers
  • 9’ level


 Sheet Metal Tool List


1st Year


2nd Year


3rd Year


4th Year


5th Year




Scratch awl

Tinner’s hammer (16 oz)

Bull snips

Small, medium & large screw drivers (slotted and Robertson)

Rule 10”


Lockable tool box


Hacksaw frame


Vice grips


Right & left hand aircraft snips


Folding tongs


Plumb bob and line


Chalk line


Crescent or adjustable wrench 10”


Ball peen hammer


12” spirit level


6” divider



12” divider



Centre punch



Set of trammel points



Cold chisel 12”



Set of Allen wrenches






Letter to JMR Employees – November 2013

We have been visiting with you throughout October and have had some good conversations with many of you over the direction of your CLAC leadership. We’ve been told by most we speak with that they have serious concerns with the performance of CLAC.

CLAC likes to comment on permanent employment and secure futures. CLAC doesn’t get you jobs, JMR does, just like JMR always did. We would ask, where are the ex CLAC members who have been laid off from JMR? Where is their security? They paid dues like you. Where is CLAC for them? The Building Trades run a hiring hall so we can work to get jobs for members employed and unemployed. We keep them and their families in benefits during the good times and the slow. When you’ve had enough of JMR, or they’ve had enough of you, what are your options?

We are tradesmen like you. Like you, we have worked in boiler rooms in the summer and rooftops in the winter. Like you, we work hard and are proud of the work we do. Like you we don’t appreciate being bothered at home. That’s why we have never bothered you at home. The senior guys among you will remember that the last union to be in your home and using pressure tactics was CLAC.

We aren’t here to fool anybody. Our “broken record” is anything but. The Building Trades Unions have established wages, pensions and training unsurpassed in the construction industry. We stand up for our members, our contractors and our trades. Negotiating bad contracts and bargaining from a weak position, like CLAC, is not modern, it’s easy.

We stand together proud of our trade, we think you do too. We don’t want your jobs – we want to represent you at JMR.

Labour law in Ontario says that you have 3 choices before 31 December 2013. They are :

1.) Stay at JMR pay our dues

2.) Stay at JMR pay CLAC dues

3.) Stay at JMR pay no dues

If you have any questions on how this is going to work, give us a call anytime at 1-855-771-1536.

Peter Andersen UA
Mike Eagleson SMWIA
Will Perrie IBEW